Trashing of wedding dress a sign of the times

Carolyn (Sue) Hendrick

Watching a bride douse her wedding dress with a strongly inflammable liquid as she walked away from taking her wedding vows, I sat in disbelief.  The fire ignited quickly, began to burn, and started to melt away a beautiful white dress that was still being worn.  The woman then moved quickly toward the water that was nearby to stop the fire and save her life.  Her appearance as she stepped out of the shallow waves said that the “trashing of her wedding dress” had been a success.
I listened to the news commentator as he explained that this was a new fad.  One bride had died in her burning dress as she sought the safety of the water and was drowned.  I wondered, “Is this absolute lunacy?”  Weddings used to be a matter of upmost sincerity and respect.  “Are the wedding vows still a sign of sacred trust between two loving people?”
The choices of weddings used to be much simpler.  Decisions were made as to where the wedding would take place, who would perform the ceremony, how many people would be invited, where would the honeymoon be, where would the newly joined couple live and so on.  Marriage was considered a sacred bond that lasted through sickness and health and ended with death of one of the participants.
Statistics show us that the normal marriage of yesterday is rarely experienced by anyone today.  Divorce rates have been quoted by some as one out of every one marriage ends in divorce.  Five years of marriage is seen as some kind of victory before the whole thing dissolves.  Whether there are children or not doesn’t enter into the equation.  The common line of thinking seems to be, oh well, if it doesn’t work out, we will just get a divorce and marry somebody else.
Even more prevalent today is the situation of “living together.”  Why bother with marriage?  Or, change the rules altogether as to who can be considered legally married.  It seems that only those that are legally unqualified to marry, due to age or gender, may be the only ones fighting for the right.
The wedding dress of the bride was a symbol of the beautiful celebration of two persons uniting in a common goal for life.  They agreed to love and cherish one another and to be faithful in all of their days together for the duration of their lives.  The death of either one was the only way that the promise was broken.   The wedding dress was often seen as a prized object that might be worn by someone else in the family lineage as an honor.
Is it any wonder that divorce rates equal marriage rates if no one cares enough to even wear the wedding dress until they change for their departure, or put it away safely as a symbol of the trust and promise they have just made?  One has to wonder how much respect for the wedding itself has been given if the moment the vows are finished, the wedding dress is “trashed.”

Sue Hendrick lived in Diboll for several years.  Although she now resides in Lufkin, Diboll will always be her East Texas home.